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Inzombiac
11-17-2006, 08:38 AM
I don't know what it is... I practice for hours on end. Ball after ball, set up after set up. I can run every single ball flawlessly but I have yet to run an entire rack in 8-ball. Even when I'm only playing against myself, I get to the 8, choke, miss, and then demoralized I end up missing way more times than is necessary until either the other person wins, or I win by the skin of my teeth, giving up more points than I really should have. Then I'm so pissed off I can't even think.

I think its because subconsciously I'm scared of totally dominating a match. I get so nervous over that last ball that symbolizes perfection and then I never make it.

Does anyone ever get this way? Anyone know how to kill that nervous feeling, so I can step my game up what is necessary to win?

Poolhalljunkie
11-17-2006, 08:41 AM
rack the eight ball iin the rack and use another ball to represent the 8 play it as you would any other ball thats how I overcame my fear of the 8

Double-Dave
11-17-2006, 08:43 AM
Or, in your local hall, take out the 8-balls from 15 racks and play with only 8-balls.

gr. Dave

dogginda9
11-17-2006, 08:45 AM
Or, in your local hall, take out the 8-balls from 15 racks and play with only 8-balls.

gr. Dave
This worked like a charm for me!

zn418
11-17-2006, 08:57 AM
Dont think of the 8 ball as the money ball, look at it as another ball that has to be played... Then play shapes off the eight for your oppents ball as if its the next ball. That cleared up my problems.

Cornerman
11-17-2006, 09:00 AM
I think its because subconsciously I'm scared of totally dominating a match. I get so nervous over that last ball that symbolizes perfection and then I never make it.

Does anyone ever get this way? Anyone know how to kill that nervous feeling, so I can step my game up what is necessary to win?

I'll give my standard canned answer. Play position when shooting the 8-ball. You've played position on the other 7 shots. If you treat the 8-ball differently, you're bound to get different results. Your stroke will get choked up.

Fred

VIProfessor
11-17-2006, 09:01 AM
I don't know what it is... I practice for hours on end. Ball after ball, set up after set up. I can run every single ball flawlessly but I have yet to run an entire rack in 8-ball. Even when I'm only playing against myself, I get to the 8, choke, miss, and then demoralized I end up missing way more times than is necessary until either the other person wins, or I win by the skin of my teeth, giving up more points than I really should have. Then I'm so pissed off I can't even think.

I think its because subconsciously I'm scared of totally dominating a match. I get so nervous over that last ball that symbolizes perfection and then I never make it.

Does anyone ever get this way? Anyone know how to kill that nervous feeling, so I can step my game up what is necessary to win?

Hi Inzombiac,

God, do I know what you mean! I struggled with making the game ball for years in both eight and nine ball. I finally got over it, and from my experience I realized that my problem had to do with not only the mental side of pocketing the game ball, but also with my position and pattern play. The truth is that any player, regardless of their skill level, would rather shoot a hanger than a missable shot for the cheese or the trophy. If you plan and execute your runouts properly, you will have many more situations in which the shot on the money ball is such that it is almost impossible to miss.

On the mental side, you must repeat to yourself, both in the chair and in your time away from the pool hall, that you deserve to win. Practice breathing exercises, such as those desribed in Bob Henning's The Pro Book, to keep your breathing and heart rate regular and to promote relaxed concentration. You should also remember that the eight ball doesn't know that it's the game ball. It's just another shot. Play position when you're playing the eight ball just like any other shot, except that you can cinch it and not have to worry about doing anything special with the cue ball.

A great tip that I picked up from Babe Cranfield's book is to establish a good pre-shot routine and to make sure that you can feel the weight of your cue on your fingers before you shoot. If your hand wrist and arm aren't relaxed enough for the cue to hang naturally on your fingers, you're not ready to shoot the shot. By focusing on your regular routine, you take your mind off the significance of the shot and you focus it on what's important--executing the shot.

Finally, develop your competitive nerve by competing. Play in as many tournaments as you can, or if it falls within your code, compete in money matches at a level you can comfortably afford. In time, you will relish the shots at the game ball.

Good luck, and remember to try without trying.

Hierovision
11-17-2006, 09:01 AM
What about 9 ball? It's the only one left so there's no reason to play position :( I can't go ask the guy at the front desk for 15 9 balls...

CamposCues
11-17-2006, 09:05 AM
I was in a slump in league when I kept missing easy 8s. My team told me they were going to buy me a sack of 8 balls for Christmas. You just have to quit thinking about it so much. It'll pass.

Cornerman
11-17-2006, 09:09 AM
What about 9 ball? It's the only one left so there's no reason to play position :( I can't go ask the guy at the front desk for 15 9 balls...
Play position with the cueball. You don't need an object ball to play the cueball's position. It can be anywhere, I like playing a non-scratch path.

Fred

Flex
11-17-2006, 09:27 AM
The way I see it, you're afraid of the 8 ball, or 9 ball, or whatever ball is the winning ball.

Although I haven't totally whipped the irrational fear of the shot that will win the game, I found out something that helped my game go up a notch in a matter of hours.

Here's what I did. Instead of telling yourself the ball is just any other ball, which you know it isn't, you need to put pressure on yourself on EVERY other ball, similar to the pressure that comes with the game ball. Easier said than done, I know, but here's a suggestion: Play someone who can run 3 or 4 balls in 9 ball a race to 9 or 11 or however long you wish. Play for a soda or something small. Give them the breaks, the wild 4 and wild 7. Now that will put some pressure on you. What kind of pressure? The kind where you know if you miss the shot or leave them an easy shot on the ball you're shooting that most likely they'll win the game. Believe me, that will put pressure on you. It will force you to concentrate and focus as if every shot were the money ball, which it likely is. Miss a shot, and give the table to your opponent and you're toast.

That will get you used to dealing with the pressure. And will also probably force you to figure out how to pot the balls with full intention and with perfect execution.

Don't flee from the pressure, embrace it, love it. Tell yourself this is the moment you've been waiting for. And sink that money ball.

Flex

CaptainHook
11-17-2006, 09:33 AM
Great advice in this thread.:D

suckershot
11-17-2006, 09:37 AM
Or, in your local hall, take out the 8-balls from 15 racks and play with only 8-balls.

gr. Dave

LOL...there's a guy I know called "6-ball Dave", because he misses disproportionately more on the 6 than the other balls. One day, he comes into the poolhall, the manager hands him a tray filled with 6-balls, Dave says "---- you dude."

Cheez Dawg
11-17-2006, 09:47 AM
I was once told that along with the mental aspect of playing the 8 with it being the game winning ball, there is somewhat of an optical illusion with shooting a black ball into a black pocket.
I don't know if I put any stock into that.
What helped me years ago when I had a similar problem was to do what was stated earlier in this thread. Rack up 15 eight balls, and shoot away.
Just my .02.

Da Poet
11-17-2006, 09:55 AM
Same problem for a while myself and I got a lot of great advice on this forum that really helped tremendously.

If you're just missing straight on easy ones, then it's definitely in your head and I would try every idea you come across until you find the right one. You'll know when you have it.

As it turned out, for me, I was tightening up, getting too conservative on the speed of the shot on the ball before the eight and focusing on just making the ball first, and focusing on the speed second leaving not the worst shots, but certainly not the best. Randomly rolling two balls out, one the eight, and running them out helped bigtime.

The other thing that helped me was making sure to include some extra eight ball shots in my pregame warm up. Not tough shots, just 5-10, one after the other, to get an up to date mental picture of it rolling in the pocket from different places on the table.


Good luck!

tigerallenyim
11-17-2006, 10:02 AM
I'll give my standard canned answer. Play position when shooting the 8-ball. You've played position on the other 7 shots. If you treat the 8-ball differently, you're bound to get different results. Your stroke will get choked up.

Fred
Agreed.
This helps immensely, cuz pocketing the 8-ball is doing only HALF the job. You must complete the task by protecting the cue ball from scratching, and if u happen to miss, ur not giving it away.

StrokeofLuck
11-17-2006, 11:06 AM
I like the idea of playing position for another ball or zone in order to keep your stroke fluid, but I'd also say you have a mental "glitch" going and you need to stand up before you pull the trigger and get your head right. I've done it too many times where your last thought is about missing the ball and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Get up, visualize a line from 8-ball to pocket, get back down and let your sub-conscious do the rest.

Inzombiac
11-17-2006, 11:10 AM
Thank you so much all of you! This is exactly why I hang around on these forums cus everyone gives such good advice. Sometimes I can't think of what could help my game from another perspective and you guys always help me with that. I'm gonna try all of the things you all described and see if I can beat this thing. :D

ALSO

I can't wait to play tonight at Fast Eddie's on 281 and Bitters! Anyone in the San Antonio area should come out.

Mystick Cue Fan
11-20-2006, 05:29 PM
Thank you so much all of you! This is exactly why I hang around on these forums cus everyone gives such good advice. Sometimes I can't think of what could help my game from another perspective and you guys always help me with that. I'm gonna try all of the things you all described and see if I can beat this thing. :D

ALSO

I can't wait to play tonight at Fast Eddie's on 281 and Bitters! Anyone in the San Antonio area should come out.


I was there all weekend. Maybe we bumped heads and never knew it. Who were you around all weekend?

Tony

Sprite
11-20-2006, 10:45 PM
I don't know what it is... I practice for hours on end. Ball after ball, set up after set up. I can run every single ball flawlessly but I have yet to run an entire rack in 8-ball. Even when I'm only playing against myself, I get to the 8, choke, miss, and then demoralized I end up missing way more times than is necessary until either the other person wins, or I win by the skin of my teeth, giving up more points than I really should have. Then I'm so pissed off I can't even think.

I think its because subconsciously I'm scared of totally dominating a match. I get so nervous over that last ball that symbolizes perfection and then I never make it.

Does anyone ever get this way? Anyone know how to kill that nervous feeling, so I can step my game up what is necessary to win?

I had this problem same as you. But now i have overcome it and i run out 8balls once every 4 racks.
I only started 9ball early this year and i bit of pohbia of the last ball which is 9-ball. So same rules apply, iif only i keep only playing, playing and playing, one day i will overcome this orange stripe ball. And yes, i got by first break clear on Oct this year.
So i advise you......dun care.....just aim and pot.

SlickRick_PCS
11-20-2006, 11:03 PM
Ok,there were times when I had an itch about always screwing up on making the money ball, the dirt, the oscuro bola , the pit and the pendelum... ok, I gotta stop with the dumbness. Seriously, it's all in your mind when it comes down to making that last ball. It's like this... imagine that last ball as if it were a little puppy or a baby (get it... get it... visualize the field -- waterboy lol). If you make the last shot, kudos to ya... if you miss it, you live and you learn until the opportunity strikes again and then you'll have your shot at victory. Practice!! Practice!!Practice!!

CCMC1
11-21-2006, 12:14 AM
I sometimes play against a “league guy.” When I would get to the 8 ball, I would miss every time. When I played other people, I would not miss (well, not as much). After missing the 8 once, he told me that I changed the way I shot. He said that on other shots I would look at the OB, the pocket, setup and shoot. When I went for the 8, I would simply setup and shoot. I other words, I was shooting too fast.

When I got to the 8 again, I noticed that my heart rate increased, and the only thing going through my mind was, “I’m about to win!” Well, I now know I have to relax and carry on my normal routine as if I was shooting a regular shot.

It helps to know, but I still can’t help but get excited on the 8 when playing a far better player… I’m still working on that. One thing that helped last week was watching those guys play each other… I now think us non-league people are “fun” to pass the time away (and show pointers to) in between games. Lol… and maybe get some practice.

xidica
11-21-2006, 12:14 AM
I think a lot of it (for me) has to do with rhythm. If you've ever read the book "The Pleasures of Small Motions"; or simply know that you you run balls with rhythm, then you must also note this.

If you are making 1 ball, another ball, and staying in rhythm; and then get to the money ball and kind have an "oh sh-t, this is important, let's break my own rhythm" moment. You're bound to miss it.

Shoot it like it was any other ball on the table and I guarantee you it will drop for you more often. I don't believe the optical illusion thing, none of that. Then again I have a slight bit better than 20/20 vision so I'm not sure if my eyes can be deceived ;)

Just my two cents as usual...

arsenius
11-21-2006, 01:26 AM
The pleasures of small motions is a great book. Everyone should own it (except my opponents...;-).

Anyways, you should know too, that once you finally sink that 8 ball for your first B&R, it will become much easier. Right now, it sounds like you really have a mental block on it. Don't get discouraged, because it sounds like once you break that barrier you're gonna be great.

The same thing happens in straight pool, by the way. Many many players have trouble breaking their high runs, or breaking 100 for the first time (or 50, or 2 racks...). So you are by no means alone in this one. I remember my first B&R in 8ball, I didn't realize it had happened. I asked the guy I was playing and he said, "yeah, you ran it." Then I made a bit of an *** out of myself because I was so happy.:)

Hierovision
11-21-2006, 04:13 AM
The Inner Game of Tennis! I'm on the 4th chapter and can clearly see this is going to help me immensely.

xidica
11-21-2006, 05:49 AM
I'll have to check the inner game of tennis out as well.

Might also have other insight that I'm missing out on...

Sharkeyes
11-21-2006, 07:48 AM
what works for me is to pretend that you have to win twice as many games as you really are. That way you won't choke as much if you get to the last money ball to win the set b/c you still tell yourself you have a lot more games to go.

VIProfessor
11-21-2006, 10:33 AM
I've noticed that the posters have mentioned a couple of excellent books, The Pleasure of Small Motions and The Inner Game of Tennis, which address the mental and emotional part of the game. I'd like to add Phil Capelle's A Mind for Pool and Bob Henning's The Pro Book to the must-read list.

Both books offer tremendous insight into the mental game, and they provide drills and exercises to improve your ability to reach and maintain a state of relaxed concentration. I could go on and on about the merits and contents of these two books, but I'll just say that if you read and practice the material in these books you will become a better, smarter, and stronger player!

Sprite
11-21-2006, 12:14 PM
Maybe sing a song(in your mind) when playing the last ball helps.

lewdo26
11-21-2006, 12:55 PM
Yeah, as far as the money ball, what worked for me (I no longer miss it with any more frequency than all the other balls :o - although I was never a big choker), and corroborating some of the earlier posts:

1) do your pre-shot routine exactly like all other shots - that way you don't spend any more or less time, stay in your rhythm, and you worry about process and your stick as opposed to results and what the balls are doing;

2) play pinpoint position as though the rack will continue indefinetely;

3) examine your attitude toward winning and losing and competition more generally. Not to be outdone by the others, I'll again suggest The Inner Game of Tennis and Pleasures of Small Motions.

xidica
11-21-2006, 11:48 PM
What a simply fantastic thread. So many good things here!

Heck I won a tournament tonight simply by keeping myself happy and staying in the mental game. Even when missing a few very easily runnable racks...Who cares? :D